Home Criminal Defense Diversity Spotlight Series: Kristen Sonday, Co-Founder and COO of Paladin

Diversity Spotlight Series: Kristen Sonday, Co-Founder and COO of Paladin


One of the American Bar Association’s core values is a commitment to diversity, which the Law Practice Division goals to bolster within the authorized tech sector. From tech founders and CEOs to small enterprise homeowners, various authorized professionals are making a big effect on legislation and expertise in each discipline. In retaining with the spirit of progress, the Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) is proud to current its “Diversity Spotlight Series.” Our aim is to rejoice, promote and encourage BIPOC, LGBTQ and people with disabilities within the authorized tech house.

Kristen Sonday, Co-Founder and COO of Paladin

How would you describe your job and what do you like most about it?

As a startup co-founder, I see my job as consistently evaluating how our expertise will be most impactful throughout the professional bono ecosystem (and entry to justice system extra broadly), after which main initiatives to execute on these objectives. I really like that we’re addressing such advanced issues and admire how shortly we’re all the time shifting to adapt and scale our affect.

What drew you to and the way did you arrive at your present position?

My background is with the U.S. Justice Department doing global felony work in Mexico and Central America, after which serving as a founding group member of a YCombinator-backed tech startup. Through my work with underrepresented communities at DOJ, I knew I wished to do one thing associated with growing entry to justice, and the tech world taught me that with the correct group, I might construct and implement an impactful tech answer at scale. That was actually thrilling to me.

How has mentorship performed an element in your private {and professional} progress?

As a primary gen school Latina (my dad didn’t even end highschool), mentorship has meant all the things. From seeing girls succeed who regarded like me to having different mentors help, vouch for me, or make an introduction, I might not be right here had been it not for his or her advocacy.

What has been probably the most beneficial piece of recommendation given to you, and the least helpful?

The finest recommendation I’ve acquired is to search out your aggressive benefit–what makes you distinctive–and double down on it. My Latinidad permits me to narrate to our professional bono shoppers in a manner that others within the discipline can’t, and my skilled background additionally permits me to narrate well to our shoppers. That combination is strong to me and one thing that units Paladin aside. Least helpful recommendation? I attempt to ignore these!

Is there one thing that you just do in your private life and group (outdoors of the workplace and work) that you just assume contributes ultimately to your skilled success?

I actively volunteer for causes that I care about; largely associated with ATJ and supporting various founders. For instance, I Co-Chair the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council, which has made me immensely extra attune to what authorized companies organizations are engaged on and the challenges they face, which I can then incorporate at Paladin. I additionally mentor for the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s incubator program, served as an EIR for Code2040, and mentor for the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, which gives nice insights into how others’ are fascinated with their very own startups. All of that in flip offers me new methods to consider how and what we’re constructing at Paladin.

How do you assume employers, organizations, and communities can improve range and help various professionals, particularly within the authorized tech world?

Honestly, we all know what we have to do, now we simply have to go do it. For the folks within the again: rent, put money into, promote, pay, purchase from, increase consciousness of, and hearken to various professionals to start out.


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